One of the most popular destinations in India, especially in the northern part of the country is Dharamshala. Known for its pleasant weather and the Tibetian culture, the small town has gained much attention and become a popular choice among tourists. If you are thinking about a vacation in the mountains, this guide is for you! We will look at all the things you need to know before planning your trip to Dharamshala. And if you are already in Dharamshala, you can book a taxi in Dharamshala and explore the best of the town with a local driver
Table of Content
- About Dharamshala
- Things to do by booking a Savaari taxi in Dharamshala
- Shopping in Dharamshala
- Nightlife in Dharamshala
- Places to visit in Dharamshala
- Places to visit near Dharamshala
- Savaari Customers verified places to eat in Dharamshala
- How to reach Dharamshala
- Best time to visit Dharamshala
- Places to stay in Dharamshala
- Hotels and Hostels in Dharamshala
- The highest road trip taken from Dharamshala by Savaari customers
Dharamshala is a scenic town in the Kangra district of Himachal Pradesh, India. It is situated in the foothills of the Himalayas and is known for its stunning natural beauty and serene atmosphere. The town is famous for being the residence of the exiled Tibetan spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, and is often referred to as the “Little Lhasa.” Dharamshala is a popular destination for travellers seeking peace and tranquillity amidst breathtaking scenery.
History of Dharamshala
Dharamshala has a rich history dating back to the 8th century when it was known as Bhagsu. The town served as a popular summer retreat for British officials during the colonial era. In 1959, the Dalai Lama fled to India and settled in the townn, making it the centre of the Tibetan government in exile. Today, the town is known worldwide for its connection to the Tibetan struggle for independence and attracts visitors from all over the globe.
Facts about Dharamshala
Despite being a popular destination, there are some things that people might not know about the town. Did you know? Dharamshala was initially a small village before the arrival of the British in the mid-19th century. Read on to know more
- The town is located in the Dhauladhar range of the Himalayas and is situated at an altitude of 1,475 meters above sea level.
- Dharamshala is home to several indigenous tribes, including the Gaddis, who are known for their distinct culture and customs.
- The famous cricket stadium in Dharamshala is one of the highest cricket stadiums in the world, located at an altitude of 1,457 meters above sea level.
- Dharamshala has a thriving local art scene, with numerous galleries and exhibitions showcasing traditional and contemporary works.
- The town is surrounded by several scenic hiking trails and is a popular base camp for trekkers heading into the Dhauladhar mountains.
- Dharamshala is known for its distinct cuisine, including Tibetan momos, thukpa, and traditional Himachali dishes.
- The town has several monasteries and meditation centres, making it a popular destination for spiritual seekers and yoga enthusiasts.
Things to do by booking a Savaari taxi in Dharamshala
The beautiful destination has much to offer to its visitors. Right from cultural experiences, to scenic views, adventure sports and street food, the town has it all. But wouldn’t it just be amazing if you had a local driver who would show you all the hidden gems and local-favourite spots? You can also book a Savaari taxi in Dharamshala and explore the town. Here are a few things to do in Dharamshala.
- Visit the Dalai Lama Temple Complex and attend a prayer ceremony.
- Explore the scenic hiking trails in the Dhauladhar range, including Triund and Indrahar Pass.
- Visit the Bhagsunath Temple and Bhagsu Waterfall.
- Explore the local art scene by visiting galleries and exhibitions showcasing traditional and contemporary works.
- Learn about the region’s history and culture by visiting the Kangra Fort and Museum.
- Attend a cricket match at the Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association Stadium.
- Take a cooking class and learn to make traditional Himachali or Tibetan dishes.
- Attend a meditation or yoga retreat at one of the town’s many centres.
- Visit the tea gardens and learn about the production process.
- Take a day trip to the nearby town of McLeod Ganj, which is known for its vibrant Tibetan culture and cuisine.
Shopping in Dharamshala
Dharamshala offers a range of shopping options, from local handicrafts to Tibetan souvenirs. Tourists can explore traditional Tibetan handicrafts and woven scarfs, woollen clothes and much more. Hemp-made bags and pouches are also quite famous in the area. Here are a few famous local shopping destinations in Dharamshala.
- Kotwali Bazaar and McLeod Ganj are popular shopping areas with numerous stalls selling traditional Himachali and Tibetan goods.
- The town is famous for its Tibetan carpets, thangkas (traditional Tibetan paintings), and singing bowls.
- You can also find local handmade shawls, scarves, and woollen clothes made from Pashmina and Angora wool.
- The region is also known for its tea, and you can purchase different varieties of tea from local tea shops.
- Bargaining is a common practice in the town, so be prepared to haggle for a good deal.
Nightlife in Dharamshala
Dharamshala is not known for its nightlife, and most establishments close by 10 PM due to local regulations. However, there are a few options for those looking for some entertainment after dark. Some of the bars and cafes in McLeod Ganj offer live music performances, and some have outdoor seating areas with beautiful views of the town. Some of the popular options for night owls include Shiva Cafe, Illiterati Cafe, and the Tibetan Mandala Cafe.
Places to visit in Dharamshala
Dharamshala is known for its monasteries, food, Tibetan culture and natural beauty. Here are a few places that you can visit while in Dharamshala.
Dalai Lama Temple Complex
The Dalai Lama Temple Complex is the heart of Dharamshala’s Tibetan community and the residence of the exiled Tibetan spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama. Visitors can attend prayer ceremonies and explore the temple’s intricate artwork and architecture. The complex also includes a museum that showcases the history and culture of the Tibetan people.
- Entry Fees Rs. 5
- Working hours: 9:00 am to 5:00 pm
- Closed on: Monday
Triund is a scenic hiking trail located at an altitude of 2,850 meters above sea level, offering breathtaking views of the Dhauladhar range. The trek takes approximately four to five hours to complete and is suitable for beginner to intermediate-level hikers. Tourists can camp overnight in Triund and enjoy stargazing in the clear night sky.
- Entry Fees none
- Working hours: Open all-day
Bhagsunath Temple and Waterfall
The Bhagsunath Temple is an ancient temple dedicated to Lord Shiva, located in the quaint village of Bhagsu. The temple is known for its intricate stone carvings and peaceful atmosphere. Bhagsunath also has a nearby waterfall by the name of Bhagsu Waterfall. It is a short hike from the temple and is a well-known picnic spot. It is also a great place to cool off during hot summer days.
- Entry Fees none
- Working hours: 7:00 am to 9:00 pm
Kangra Fort and Museum
The Kangra Fort is an ancient fortification that dates back to the 4th century BC and is located in the town of Kangra, approximately 20 km from the town. The fort complex includes several temples, palaces, and museums that showcase the region’s rich history and culture. The museum includes artefacts and exhibits related to the Kangra Valley’s art, history, and archaeology.
Entry Fee:150 per person for Indians and Rs.300 per person for foreigners (Fee includes audio guide)
- Entry Fees none
- Working hours: 9:00 am to 6:00 pm
Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association Stadium
The Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association Stadium is a world-renowned cricket stadium located in Dharamshala and is one of the highest cricket stadiums in the world. The stadium offers stunning views of the surrounding mountains and is a popular destination for cricket enthusiasts. It is one of the best places for cricket enthusiasts to visit. Visitors can attend cricket matches and explore the stadium’s facilities, including the museum that showcases the history of cricket in the region.
- Entry Fees Rs. 30
- Working hours: 8:00 am to 7:00 pm
McLeod Ganj is a vibrant town located approximately 10 km from the town and is famous for its Tibetan culture and cuisine. The town is home to several monasteries, including the Namgyal Monastery, the largest Tibetan monastery outside of Tibet. It is a famous town and one of the main tourist attractions. McLeod Ganj is famous for its narrow streets, local markets, and traditional Tibetan dishes like momos and thukpa.
- Entry Fees none
- Working hours: 9:00 am to 10:00 pm
- Closed on: Monday
The tea gardens in Dharamshala offer a unique opportunity to learn about the production process of tea and taste different varieties. Visitors can take a guided tour of the tea gardens and learn about the history and culture of tea in the region. The tea gardens also offer scenic views of the surrounding mountains and are a great place for nature lovers and photographers.
- Entry Fees Rs. 20
- Working hours: 9:00 am to 6:00 pm
Places to visit near Dharamshala
Dharamshala has a lot to offer to its tourists. One such thing is road trips from Dharamshala. The town is surrounded by beautiful locations just a convenient ride away.
- Palampur: A picturesque town is known for its tea gardens and colonial architecture. The town is a short 33 Km away from Dharamshala.
- Bir Billing: A popular destination for adventure sports like paragliding and trekking. Located only 63km away from Dharamshala, the Bir Billing road trip is a must.
- Chamunda Devi Temple: A sacred Hindu temple located on the banks of the Ban Ganga River.
- Masroor Rock Cut Temple: A unique archaeological site featuring ancient Hindu rock-cut temples.
- Dal Lake: A serene lake surrounded by lush greenery and scenic mountains, perfect for a picnic or a boat ride.
- Naddi Village: A peaceful village located on a hilltop that offers stunning views of the Dhauladhar mountain range.
- Dharamkot: Dharamkot is also located just 30 mins from the town and is a beautiful place to tick off while in Himachal.
Considering that the roads in high altitudes are twisted and risky, it is a good idea to hire a locally driven car. Local drivers in the town are very welcoming and know the most offbeat locations and food joints. If you are someone who loves to explore the local culture, hiring a car is a good idea.
Savaari Customers verified places to eat in Dharamshala
Dharamshala is a beautiful hill station in the Indian state of Himachal Pradesh, famous for its stunning natural beauty, Buddhist monasteries, and vibrant culture. The town is also known for its delicious food, with a wide variety of dishes available that cater to all tastes and preferences.
If you’re planning a trip to Dharamshala, here are some of the Savaari customer-recommended places to eat in the town that you should check out:
- The Other Cafe, Dharamshala- This cosy and quirky cafe is one of the most popular eateries in Dharamshala. The menu offers a range of dishes from around the world, with a focus on healthy and organic ingredients. The cafe is also known for its selection of books and events, making it a great place to relax and unwind.
- Lung Ta Japanese Restaurant, McLeod Ganj – This restaurant is a must-visit for lovers of Japanese food. The menu features a range of authentic Japanese dishes, from sushi and sashimi to tempura and udon noodles. The restaurant also has a beautiful outdoor seating area that offers stunning views of the surrounding mountains.
- Nick’s Italian Kitchen, McLeod Ganj – This Italian restaurant is known for its delicious pizzas, pasta, and salads. The restaurant has a cosy and relaxed atmosphere, making it a great place to enjoy a leisurely meal with friends and family.
- Tibet Kitchen, McLeod Ganj – As the name suggests, this restaurant specializes in Tibetan cuisine. The menu features a range of traditional dishes such as momos (dumplings), thukpa (noodle soup), and tingmo (steamed bread). The restaurant also has a beautiful outdoor seating area that offers stunning views of the surrounding mountains.
- Jimmy’s Italian Kitchen, McLeod Ganj – Another great Italian restaurant in Dharamshala, Jimmy’s Italian Kitchen is known for its delicious wood-fired pizzas and homemade pasta dishes. The restaurant has a cosy and relaxed atmosphere, making it a great place to enjoy a leisurely meal with friends and family.
- Shiva Cafe, Near Bhagsunag Waterfall Dharamshala – This popular cafe is located in the picturesque village of Bhagsu, just a short distance from the town. The menu features a range of dishes from around the world, with a focus on healthy and organic ingredients. The cafe has gained a reputation for offering stunning views of the surrounding mountains and the nearby waterfall.
Dharamshala offers a wide range of dining options to suit all tastes and preferences. Whether you’re in the mood for Italian, Japanese, or Tibetan cuisine, there’s something for everyone in this beautiful hill station. So, be sure to check out some of these fantastic restaurants on your next visit.
Planning a trip to Dharamshala
Planning a trip to Dharamshala requires some research and preparation. You will need to decide on the best time to visit, arrange transportation, and find suitable accommodation. Additionally, you should consider the various activities and attractions in the area, such as visiting Buddhist monasteries, hiking in the nearby mountains, and sampling the local cuisine.
How to reach Dharamshala
Reaching Dharamshala is fairly easy, as it is well-connected to major cities in the country by air, rail, and road. Here are some of the best ways to reach the town:
The nearest railway station to Dharamshala is Pathankot, which is located about 85 km away. From Pathankot, you can take a taxi or bus to reach the town. Another option is to take a narrow gauge train from Pathankot to Kangra, which is about 18 km from Dharamshala.
The nearest airport to Dharamshala is Gaggal Airport, also known as Kangra Airport, which is located about 15 km from the town. Several airlines operate regular flights to and from Gaggal Airport, including Air India, SpiceJet, and Alliance Air. Book an airport taxi from Gaggal Airport to comfortably travel to your accommodation in the city.
Dharamshala is well-connected to major cities in North India by road and one of the most comfortable and convenient ways to reach is by a cab. The town is located about 475 km from Delhi, and it takes around 10 hours to reach by road. You can take a bus or hire a taxi from Delhi or other nearby cities like Chandigarh and Amritsar to reach Dharamshala. Several private and state-run bus services operate regular buses to and from Dharamshala.
Overall, reaching Dharamshala is fairly easy, and you can choose the mode of transport that suits you best based on your budget, time, and convenience. Whether you’re travelling by train, flight, or road, you’ll be able to enjoy the stunning natural beauty of the region and experience the vibrant local culture of this beautiful hill station.
Best time to visit Dharamshala
Being a mountainous region, the town is blessed with pleasant weather throughout the year. In summer, (March to June) the temperature ranges from 22°C to 35°C. It is an ideal time to plan a trip for trekking, hiking and camping in the mountains. However, if you want to experience the snow, then winter (October to February) would be an ideal time. The temperature during the months ranges between -1°C to 15°C and is an ideal time to go skiing or explore local monasteries.
Places to stay in Dharamshala
Dharamshala is a popular hill station in Himachal Pradesh that attracts a large number of tourists every year. The town offers a wide range of accommodation options to suit different budgets and preferences. Here are some of the best hotels and hostels in Dharamshala:
Hotels and Hostels in Dharamshala
|Fortune Park Moksha||Approximately 5 km from city center||0189 224 2424|
|Pride Surya Mountain Resort||Approximately 3km from city center||08894788982|
|Hotel Inclover||Approximately 5km from city center||09736600043|
|4. Zostel Dharamkot||Approximately 3KM from city center||011 4116 9654|
|5. The Hostellers, Bhagsu||Approximately 3KM from city center||09810187717|
|6. Zostel Mcloed Ganj||Approxiately 0.5KM from city center||01141190853|
Overall, Dharamshala has it all, captivating mountain views, delicious food, beautiful monasteries, adventure sports and much more. The locals are humble and always ready to help but getting around the town can be difficult. However, you can download the Savaari app and hire a taxi for a smooth and pleasant travel experience. Dharamshala is also surrounded by small towns that are just perfect for a road trip. Here are some Savaari customer-recommended road trips from Dharamshala.
The highest road trip taken from Dharamshala by Savaari customers
Nestled in the foothills of the Himalayas, a trip to the town is incomplete without a road trip to nearby small towns. Driving through valleys, and watching huge mountains pass by is an experience you shouldn’t miss when in the north.
Most of these towns are only a few hours away from Dharamshala and can be reached by renting a taxi in the town. So pack up your bags and get ready for an exciting road trip!
|Dharamshala to Kangra Fort||21km|
|Dharamshala to Palampur||35km|
|Dharamshala to Bir||65km|
|Dharamshala to Khajjir||118km|
|Dharamshala to Dalhousie||121km|
|Dharamshala to Chamba||130km|
|Dharamshala to Barot||114km|
|Dharamshala to Naggar||200km|
Last Updated on May 5, 2023 by Shabari Shankar